California Environmental Quality Act lawsuits may be the next victims of the state’s ongoing recession. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that follows up on Gov. Schwarzenegger’s call to exempt 100 projects from judicial challenge based on the environmental law. Citing the ongoing recession, both supporters and opponents of the idea say this just might be the year that lawmakers are willing to take a bold strike at CEQA.
The very first edition of CP&DR that I oversaw from start to finish contained a story on the front page with the headline, “Smart Growth Hits The Agenda Of California And National Leaders.” That’s right, I’ve been editor of CP&DR since the concept of “smart growth” was new.
The story was the March 1999 edition of CP&DR. The February 15, 2010, edition is my last as editor. It’s time for me to move along.
Salinas is the blue-collar workhorse of Monterey County and the center of a wealthy agricultural region. But unlike its sister cities on the nearby Monterey Peninsula, Salinas has a downtown that is devoid of upscale restaurants and boutique hotels.
Although it is home to the National Steinbeck Center, a museum honoring the Nobel laureate and Salinas resident John Steinbeck, downtown Salinas has never taken off. Instead, the community has sprawled out on the fertile farmland that surrounds it.
The filing of a notice of determination triggers a 30-day statute of limitations for all California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenges to any decision announced in the notice, regardless of the nature of the alleged CEQA violation, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
In a decision filed on February 11, 2010, in Committee for Green Foothills v. Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the unanimous Supreme Court reversed the Sixth District Court of Appeal, which had ruled that a 180-day statute of limitations applied in the case.
As the popularity of motor sports, especially stock car racing, blossomed during the late 1990s and 2000s, a number of would-be race track developers and local government officials in California pursued high-speed economic dreams. However, actually building a race track in California has proven to be far more difficult than proposing a track and even winning development entitlements.
San Bernardino County has experienced more than its share of corruption during the past two decades, including the conviction of two county administrative officers, a county supervisor’s admission that he accepted bribes, and both successful and pending prosecution of elected officials in county and city government. But none of the past episodes compares with the scandal outlined in mid-February by Attorney General Jerry Brown and District Attorney Michael Ramos.
The shelf life of mitigation measures may readily outlast the lives of the projects to which the mitigations are attached, according to the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District.
While the fact pattern in the case at hand was specific to timber harvesting and the conversion of property, the court’s holding has application in the broader world of all California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reviews.
Relations between the City of Alameda and developer SunCal appear to have soured in the wake of voters’ overwhelming defeat of SunCal’s plan to redevelop Alameda Naval Air Station. Three days after 85% of voters rejected SunCal’s plan during a February 2 special election, city officials sent SunCal a notice of default, the first step in ending SunCal’s exclusive negotiating agreement to redevelop the base.
The nonprofit organization GreenInfo Network has released a newly revised database that attempts to identify every publicly protected parcel of open land in California, ranging from national forest to urban pocket park. The database inventories 49 million acres of protected land composed of 51,500 separate holdings owned by 860 governmental agencies or nonprofit organizations. Downloadable for free, the information should be of use to planners, academics, government agencies, nonprofit organization, businesses and others, said Larry Orman, GreenInfo Network executive director.
Opponents of the Gold Rush Ranch 1,600-unit housing development and golf resort in Sutter Creek submitted referendum petitions with 468 signatures in early February (see CP&DR Local Watch, January 15, 2010). If as few as one-third of those signatures is valid, the referendum of the Gold Rush Ranch specific plan and general plan amendment would qualify for the ballot, possibly as soon as June.